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Rare 1792 penny sells for $1.15M at auction outside Chicago

Would you pay over a million dollars for a penny?
Clone of penny 20120330Enlarge
Rare 1792 penny fetches $1.15M at auction (Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

Would you pay over a million dollars for a penny?

Apparently some people will.

A rare 1792 penny has sold for $1.15M at an auction outside Chicago, the Associated Press reported.

According to Heritage Auctions, the penny was bought on behalf of a group of unnamed investors. The $1 million bid carries a 15 percent commission.

The coin is made from copper and incases a small plug of silver, which was added to make the specialty penny heavier, according to Todd Imhof, executive vice president of Heritage Auctions.

On one side of the coin is the phrase "Liberty Parent of Science & Industry" while the back reads "United States of America One Cent."

Imhof said there are only 14 of such pennies collectors know about today.

Agence France Presse wrote it was purchased for $105,000 in 1974.

A bit of history: ""Some 1792-dated cents have a silver plug as a proposed way to overcome a flaw in the Mint Act of 1792," Imhof told AFP.

The Congressional law would have made pennies too heavy and large "so the mint's chief coiner suggested making a smaller sized coin" using three-quarters silver and the rest cooper.

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